This is our third friendly match and I am still struggling to get a minimum 11 players for it. In the end we managed to get a last minute goalkeeper (he confirmed to play with us with one hour left before the match) and three friends of our players. I don't know whether it's due to match fatigue (this is our 5th consecutive weekends of matches) or playing with unfamiliar faces (the first eleven consisted of only 5 regulars) but we were beaten quite comprehensively in the first half with a score line of 1-5. With some dramas on and off the field, this match should be forgotten and dismissed quickly as a mere footnote or statistic of the long history of BAT squad (we are nearing our 10th year anniversary, mind you) but some individual achievement and several interesting statistic findings merit to be mentioned here:
1) Ayie scored a hattrick by scoring from a middle of the field after a kick-off, through a free kick and a penalty, which is merely to cement his reputation as a dead ball specialist.
2) Even though we were beaten 1-5 in the first half, we actually won the second half by the score of 2-1.
3) The last time we lost was on the 14th November 2010, more than two months ago. Since the last league loss to ASPUTRA at that time, we won 6 times and drew once.
4) This is our 29th match since the start of 2010 pre-season training back in February 2010 and we never fail to score at least a goal in every match. Our total clean sheets? 5 times.
5) In the last 3 friendly matches, we scored 3 goals in every match.
6) League (2 wins, 3 draws, 2 losses), Cup (3 wins, 1 loss), Friendly (10 wins, 3 draws, 5 losses)
7) Biggest win: 7-0 (Friendly, 3rd October)
8) Biggest loss: 3-6, 2-5, 2-5, 1-4 in various league and friendly matches. But the margin is never more than 3 goals.
9) Total goals scored: 79 (average 2.7 goals per match).
10) Total goals conceded: 53 (average 1.8 goals per match)
We continue our fine form during the friendly matches by beating Impian Ehsan FC with a comfortable scoreline of 3-1, even when our opponent have more substitute players than us. Our youngest debutant, Anuar who is ex-MRSM Taiping (SPM 2009) impressed the others when he managed to take the ball from his position of left back and continued onwards until he reached the edge of the opponent's penalty box and made the cross, which luckily hit one of their defender's leg and went straight in. Kerambit scored the second goal through a pass from Fazli and he add another goal for himself after Jose put him clear in front of the goal. Madun uncharacteristically let off his guard during the final minutes and the opponent's striker managed to get a consolation goal by blasting right through Shaz, our keeper.
When we finished our game, we were presented a nice surprise in form of a hamper from our opponent as a winning token. I wish we could play them every week.
It was the best game of my life and I didn't take a single photo of it. The evening started quite disastrously when I found out that only 9 of our players are able to make it to the pitch, including me. I counted more than 17 players in the opponent team. Some of our players who opted out at the last minutes have valid reasons like father admitted to ward, wife has just being discharged from hospital and so on. But some kept their silence on their absenteeism. And then I found out that we forgot to bring our socks. When we put on our blue jerseys, we found out that our opponent team are also wearing the blue jerseys. And we didn't bring our black ones.
So we started the match with 9 players, wearing blue jerseys and newly bought socks courtesy from Jose. The opponent were gracious enough to field 9 players also and they decided not to wear their blue jerseys. I became the sole striker and had a goal disallowed due to offside position. The first half ended 0-0.
Before the start of the second half, we invited two of the opponent's players to play with us. So the second half started normally with 11 players on both sides. And then something funny happened. I received a pass from the centre of the field and even though I was about 30 yards away I decided to just kick the ball towards the goal. The ball bounced weakly towards their goalkeeper and one of my players started to scold me for being wasteful but suddenly their keeper fumbled when he tried to grab the ball and it just rolled real slowly inside the goal. We got a lead and I scored the first goal! Afterwards Jose scored another goal for us and we were 2 goals ahead. The opponent strike back and had their first goal and we ended the second half leading 2-1.
The third half started brightly for the opponent when they equalised the score with another goal. I missed two glorious chances in front of the goal but I make amend later when Jose laid out a perfect pass to me and this time I just lashed it out as hard as I can and it went to the bottom left of the goal. The referee blew the final whistle afterwards and I think this is the first time I scored two goals in a match. It could be five but I'm not greedy.
A week after our victory in ANSARA Cup, we are back playing in the knock out match of Alumni Cup. Our opponent this time is ALUMTEK, the runner-up of Division Two. They are going to be promoted to the Division One next season so this is a good opportunity to gauge their strength in preparation for our 2011 league campaign.
We started the match with only 4 main players, with the rest made up from our second string ones. The reasons are because most of our main players are unable to come for this match and we also wanted to give the opportunity to those who didn't managed to play in the final last week to get some playing time today. What we didn't expect is that our opponent are quite a good team and we were constantly under attack by their speedy players. They capitalised on their speed to beat our offside trap and managed to be in the lead.
In the second half we replaced Kudin and Kamarul with Madun and Pak Lah to put more strength in our defense. Kerambit was fouled in the penalty area and Zainal decided to take the penalty. He coolly scored the equaliser. The score tied at 1-1 until the end of normal regulation time. Then it's time to take the penalty shoot-out. Both teams managed to score all the penalty. When it comes to sudden death, Jose blasted over the bar and their player didn't make any mistake to score from the spot.
We are out of the Alumni Cup but we didn't feel that bitter because at least we have won another Cup.
The news of our victory came out today in the Sinar Harian newspaper, exactly a week after the match itself. I sent the match report together with the picture to their reporter. He edited some of my writings to make it more concise but his final works still need some corrections. But still I'm glad he retains most of the story. And I bought 6 copies of the paper to be distributed to my players later on.